Saddle yourself with some great gear from independent and interesting bike brands.
Cycling can be a cunning way to steer clear of congestion and shave several minutes off a busy commute – but we’re not enamored with the uniform (think space-aged shades, Lycra and clumsy clip-on boots). Instead we’ve scoured the racks for a few time-saving, well-made and smart accessories that don’t look like they were developed by Nasa. We gear up with a few clever accessories from independents and suggest some covetable finds to keep you rolling at a fast clip.
This weatherproof roll-top from the fine folk at Mission Workshop is a riff on the classic messenger bag. The US-made wonder is made from hardwearing nylon and sealed with sturdy ykk zips; it has two quick-access pockets with more secure storage inside.
Biking can be thirsty work so a decent bottle – or bidon in velo vernacular – is a must. UK firm Rapha’s product (from a collaboration with those smart Californians at Camelbak) has a self-sealing valve to cut out water waste. For a bigger-budget buy, seek out the range from Schwinn, a US firm that’s been doing this for more than a century.
Ben Crane’s London-based clothing brand has stayed ahead of the peloton thanks to its techie take on jackets for riders. The Paneled City Cycle jacket has triple-bonded seams and a Riri zip with waterproof guard to keep cyclists dry. Plus, the panels at the back help avoid splashes from the rear wheel, while the whole design is a wipe-clean affair to avoid unsightly grime and errant oil spots.
The Nutter from Full Windsor is an extremely sane purchase. The Mark Windsor-designed stainless-steel multi-tool weighs in at just over 100g but includes a spoke key, box-head spanner, Phillips-head screwdriver and tyre lever (plus many other bits you never knew you needed). The Nutter’s leather case is ample but we prefer the simpler and sleeker saddlebag from Canadian company Orantas.
German Micki Kozuschek started Lezyne in 2007 and his repair kit is miles ahead of the competition. Inside the business card-sized aluminium container lie six glueless patches and a stainless-steel tube scuffer, which is a device for creating texture on an inner tube so that the patches stick.
Finland bike-maker Pelago’s Hanko commuter model comes with Shimano gears, a Brooks saddle, Schwalbe tyres and decent disk brakes. The aluminium frame offers a fairly upright ride (we needn’t all pretend our ride to work is akin to the downhill phase of the Tour de France), and its Parisian handles are comfortable and smart in equal measure.
While we’re as averse to helmet hair as anyone, longer rides and busier roads make head protection a must. Fortunately Rapha and Giro have teamed up to make a lightweight number with reflective straps and a not-unbecoming bonce protector. The model in plain black is sure to make an impact.
Giro’s D’Wool gloves fit as well as the idiom suggests, and with their uppers made of soft merino wool they’re very comfortable too. The handy buy also comes with reflective strips to aid visibility, and finger-tip technology so that cyclists can use touchscreen devices while wearing them.
Trackpumps always trump handheld ones, which can rarely muster the puff needed for a fast inflation. Lezyne’s cnc-machined steel barrel model is hardy and its wood handle and contoured grip make blowing up tyres a breeze.
Los Angeles-based Linus Bike’s sturdy pannier bag is made from durable waxed canvas with a natty rubber-covered hook to attach it to your bike. The removable strap also means it can be slung over your shoulder after dismount.
Our favoured Pelago peddler already has a decent saddle but for an upgrade consider the Osaka-made Kashimax Aero.The charms of its vintage style and leather upholstery are only surpassed by its comfort.
Danish design is rightly renowned for its clean design and, in its way, this Sögreni bell is as alluring as any chair or pendant lamp that the country produces. Available in brass, steel, zinc and copper, this sonorous number is a simple plate design with a spring-loaded clapper. A cheaper option (though more ubiquitous for those striving for uniqueness) are the smart Japanese-made gems from Crane.
Avoid the nightmare of not finding your bike where you left it by investing in a decent lock. Neil Barron’s flexible and improbably heftless Litelok can be attached to the bike frame by clips, and the comely herringbone pattern makes it look as much like an elegant accessory as a sturdy security precaution.